Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NYPL Conservators Provide Tips on Book Care

Before I bought my beautiful red bookshelf,* I kept my books stacked high in piles directly in front of a window and right next to a radiator - two things you DON'T want to do if you want your books to stay in excellent condition. 

You DON'T want to store your books like this.
Image via www.taswrites.com

Exposure to direct sunlight and to extreme heat can do damage to your beloved books, so can not storing them upright. When I did, at last, place my books on the bookshelf - where they belonged - I saw that some had already become slightly misshapen due to the way that they were temporarily stored. So there's something to be said for taking the steps to properly care for your personal collection.

In a recent presentation, conservators at the New York Public Library provided tips and tricks on keeping the books in your home library in tip-top shape. Some of the pointers they offered are:

1. DO keep your books in a stable, moderate environment. Try not to store your books in attics (too hot) or basements (too moist). Too much heat or moisture can speed up deterioration or encourage mold growth.

2. DO keep your books away from direct sunlight. Ultraviolet and visible light can speed up the deterioration  of paper and cause fading or discoloration.

3. DO clean your books regularly by dusting with a clean, dry, soft cloth. Simply hold the book closed and wipe the covers and edges. Vacuuming with a soft brush can also safely remove loose dust.

4. DO shelve books upright, and support them with bookends so they don't slump. If you have oversize or large, heavy volumes that don't fit upright on the shelf, store them flat rather than on the spine or edges.

5. DON'T put your bookshelves along exterior walls, where they may experience temperature and humidity changes. Try to place them along interior walls.

For additional do's and don'ts on the proper care of your books (and papers and photographs) from professional conservators, go to this NYPL link HERE.

* It is again time for me to buy a bookshelf - a larger one!

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